GUJRAT: The offices of the mayor and deputy mayor of Gujrat Municipal Corporation were locked allegedly by senior MC officials, and later unlocked on deputy commissioners’ orders after the supporters of the elected representatives staged a sit-in there on Monday.

According to MC sources, the mayor and his deputy were shocked to find their offices locked when they arrived there in the morning.

Agonised by the incident, the elected representatives, including the chairmen of various union councils and their supporters lodged a strong protest against the locking of the offices and staged a sit in on the premises.

DC blames chief officer for incident

However, the offices were unlocked in the afternoon on the orders of the deputy commissioner (DC).

Gujrta MC Mayor Tahir Maanda and his deputy Asif Mehmud told reporters at a hurriedly called press conference that they had taken charge of their respective offices on Friday the last as per the Supreme Court orders restoring the local bodies in Punjab.

However, upon arrival at the MC compound, they found their offices locked, they said, terming it a violation of the apex court orders.

Sources said the signboard bearing the name of MC administrator (DC) was earlier removed from the mayor’s office, soon after the elected representatives took over the charge which might have annoyed the district administration, resulting in locking of the offices.

However, DC Saif Anwar Jappa told Dawn that the offices of mayor and his deputy were locked on the orders of MC chief officer (CO). He said as soon as he came to know about it, he ordered the officials to unlock the offices forthwith.

He added that since the CO was in Lahore to attend a court hearing, he could not ask him about the reasons for locking the offices.

He said that the elected representatives should also show some restraint and wait for the local government department’s policy notification for the implementation of the court orders for restoration of their offices.

He added that removing the signboard of administrator from the mayor’s office was not a justified act.

“During the period I had the charge, I did not got removed the signboard from the mayor’s office,” he said.

SEALED: The district administration on Monday sealed at least four marriage halls, three restaurants, 10 shops and a private school for violating the Covid-19 protocols.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2021

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